310. Robert Bloomfield to the Revd Samuel Tillbrook, 24 February 1817


310. Robert Bloomfield to the Revd Samuel Tillbrook, 24 February 1817* 

Shefford, Bedfordshire: Feb. 24, 1817.

To the Revd Mr Tillbrook.

Dear Sir,

Yesterday fortnight our good pastor, the Revd Mr. Williamson, of Compton, calld on me to show me a letter from one of his and your friends, which letter very justly calld upon me to answer yours to me of the 8th of Jany. I replied to yours the very next day, (I hope you will so find it) after Mr. Williamson calld, and consequently mine must bear date Feb 10th. But yesterday Mr. Williamson again calld with the same complaint against me for not writing to you! And I now trouble you with this in hopes of being able to clear up a point which gives me great uneasiness as it may be construed into the most foolish and unpardonable neglect on my part, and seriously injure me with those to whom I wish to appear any thing but ungrateful. I do most earnestly beg Sir that you would satisfy me on this head on receipt of this = and I will here recapitulate the heads of what I wrote in my last for the express information of Mr. Southey.

First.—I hold as my own right one compleat half of the Copy right of all that I have written, and we share the profits.

2d.—The works are in the hands of Messrs. Baldwin & Co., as printers and publishers, and consequently advancers of capital for that purpose, and payers of half profits to the author. Yet they possess but a small share of that moiety of the whole copyright which is divided among the London Booksellers; for Messrs. Longmans & Co. hold half of it, viz. one quarter of the whole works, without any responsibility to me or to any one.

3d. Messrs. Baldwin's have behaved with the most gentlemanly liberality to me since the works came into their hands. When my friends thought of that plan which Mr. Southey recommends, namely an Edition of the whole poems by subscription, Baldwins offered to relinquish their claim on any profit, and to print such work for my sole benefit, and to any extent!! [1]  My friends weighed the matter, and relinquished such design, as probably being in the end less productive than a plain subscription of hard stuff or soft paper.

4th. The latter plan has taken place, and Mr. Southey is requested to lodge anything he may be able to raise, in the Banking House of Rogers & Co., Clement's Lane London.

Such, Sir, are, to the best of my recollection, the heads of what I stated more fully in my last, but I shall be glad to give more particulars if you require them

I always recon that I lost by the Bankruptcy, and its consequent interference with their Book-Market, about £250 or £300. At present the sale of the poems is diminish'd; and I hardly know what is not diminishd except the public debt.

I am doing my utmost to place my children out, and am, Dear Sir, most thankfully,

your very humble servant,

Rob Bloomfield

Address: To the Rev. S. Tillbrook, / Fellow of Peter-House, / Cambridge. / Feb 24.

* BL Add. MS 28268, ff. 371–72; published in Hart, p. 64 BACK

[1] For this scheme see Letter 302. BACK